Christ has risen, Alleluia alleluia...
Today we are celebrating the sixth Sunday of Easter. Are we joyful, hopeful, and thankful to the Gospel? since Christ has died, Christ is risen and Christ will come again.
The first reading tells us that the apostle's life are changed 180 degree after they experienced the resurrection of Christ. They were once affected, influenced, and bound by the society's culture, but now they changed their society's culture by Christ's way of life. This affirms what Jesus told them once that "you live in the world, but not of the world."
What exactly did they do to transform their society's culture? ( 2 things)
Their culture once told them not to associate or communicate with the Samaritans because these people are not 100% Jews and because they worship false God. They look down on the Samaritans. We remember the disciples were very surprised and even shocked when they saw Jesus was talking to the Samaritan women at the well. What happens today? The Apostles Phillip, Peter, and John went down to Samaria to preach the good news to the Samaritans. They are no longer confined or conformed to their culture, but they are now set out to transform their culture because the Spirit of Truth lives in them.
Their culture once told them to live for themselves, seeking their own glory like James and John and even their mother asked Jesus for them to seat one on the right and one on the left of Jesus in his kingdom. Now, they no longer live for themselves, but for Christ because Christ lives in them. They no longer ask who is seating on the right and on the left, but all work together in one accord to spread the Good News by proclaiming the Christ to people, by expelling the unclean spirits, and by curing the crippled and the paralyzed.
The good news is my dear sisters and brothers in Christ. Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow! Christ's words are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow!
Christ calls us to do the same to change our society's culture. Are we up to the task? Christ has chosen us to be light for the world and salt of the earth. Are we aware of our mission? What is our mission, then? Christ's mission is our mission and that is "God so loves the world that he sent his Only Son to die for our sins and whoever believe in him shall have eternal life." Christ obeys the Father's commandment and will because he loves the Father. Christ asks us to do the same: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." Christ's commandment to us is twofold: the first part is "love one another as I love you" and the second part is "go out to all nations and to teach them what I teach you."
It all begins from HOME. As the Apostles gather together in their HOME in Jerusalem, we gather together in our own HOME here at our parish. St. Mark the Evangelist community is our HOME. Here at our HOME, we are nurtured by the Words of God, by our relationship to one another as sisters and brothers in Christ, and especially by the very Soul, body, divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ at the table. Do we experience Christ's saying to us "I will not leave you orphan, I will come to you" every time we go to mass and receiving the Eucharist?
The Apostles' hearts are so filled with Christ's love for them in their HOME in Jerusalem that they are joyful to go out proclaiming the truth of God's love. Are we experiencing the same joy of God's love for us here at our HOME at St. Mark so much that we can't wait to go out announcing the truth of the Gospel to all the people?
If we do experience such a joy, many good things will happen when we leave our HOME here, right here to go back to our house. Our house will become the house of love and sacrifice because Christ is in our midst. The love between the husband and wife will become the lamp of love shinning through our house and shinning through our neighbors. Our children will grow in that loving environment as well. If this happens, I believe that many religious vocation such as religious brother and sister, deacons, priests will be born.
Finally, I would like to ask for your pray and support for my 2 weeks mission trip in Vietnam coming up next weekend. I feel being sent to this poor mission parish to share the good News with them like the Apostle Phillip was sent to Samaria to proclaim the Christ to the Samaritans. Let us open to Christ's mission because Christ is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life can lead us to the Father.
Pt Hoàng Thương